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Posts tagged 'heavenly tea'

Afternoon Tea: Customs and Etiquette, Now and Then

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 9 months ago 5469 Views No comments

Ever wonder whether you're following, or whether you even really know about tea-time etiquette? Living an informal culture of to-go tea and coffee (which means, yikes!, a drink that may or may not have actually been brewed, in a paper cup), it's hard to have the opportunity to sit down in a formal setting and engage in customary tea rituals. For some, it's hard to even imagine that there are a series of formal customs for consuming tea, which today, is an everyday (for us, 3x-a-day) beverage.

The origins of tea lie very far in the past, but it's really the influence of the British East India Company that turned a regional staple into a worldwide phenomenon starting in the 17th century. Tea etiquette not only tells the drinker what to do, but more importantly, it advises us what not to do.


Starting from the basics

When tea arrived to the West, people were left wondering what the proper vessels were to drink it out of. The answer? Porcelain, according to Jane Pettigrew of London's Langham Hotel, who described the history of tea etiquette to CBS News. (The stuff came from—you guessed it—China; hence the current nickname for porcelain serveware.) Until today, any fine tea service is made from some variation of precious porcelain, such as bone china. More modern and casual tea sets seek to display tea's rich and beautiful color, opting for glass. (Another benefit to glass is that you can tell how strong and saturated the tea is at a glance.)

Pettigrew describes the coming together of family and friends for a midday tea as "afternoon tea" for a long while before the less formal "high tea" took over as a cultural mainstay in England.

Elaine Lemm of The Spruce Eats describes the origins of afternoon tea: "When afternoon tea became fashionable thanks to the Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, it was never intended to replace dinner but rather to fill in the long gap between lunch and dinner at a time when dinner was served as late as 8 p.m. Lifestyles have changed since those times and afternoon tea is now a treat, rather than a stop-gap." Once industrialization hit England, however, this tradition became widespread, known as high tea. By the 19th century, the middle class had grown in Western Europe and tea before dinner became a routine in most households; it was no longer for the elite. This was a huge shift in cultural norms and accessibility that would signal a reduction in class divisions that we're thankful for today. Workers who needed some extra food after a long day were having more than just delicate tea sandwiches with their meal, but started to have heartier dishes instead.

Amy Reiter of the Food Network delves into the history of the term: "Contrary to the haughty images stirred by its lofty moniker, high tea is actually a lot more relaxed than afternoon tea. (The 'high' part probably refers to the fact that one traditionally enjoys it while seated at an actual dinner table, rather than on a low armchair or couch.)."

Today, high tea is generally taken between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., often as dinner, while afternoon tea was historically taken at 4 p.m. as a snack for the elite. Today, the dinner meal is called "tea" in working class families in parts of England.

And how to behave at tea? Pettigrew also has a few comments when it comes to general manners.

"'I mean, you would never actually slurp your tea, but a professional tea taster always slurps their tea because that's what you need to do to get the sort of flavor. But no, it's got to be quiet, elegant.'"

Other notes from this seasoned tea expert? No clanking the spoon against the cup when stirring; no raising your pinky while holding the cup (it's pretentious); and when you have your crumpets along with your tea (yes, it's a thing), add a little wad of clotted cream or jam, but don't smear it all over! (On this side of the Atlantic, muffins or cookies go just as well!) Oh, and she'd never put milk in non-standard blends like oolong. Let the flavor shine through. According to Doltone House, an upmarket party venue group in Australia, the rules for stirring don't stop there. Start with your spoon in the 6 o'clock position and stir clockwise, setting the spoon down beside the cup when you're done.

Want to emulate high tea at home today? You can follow some simple steps to bring some tradition to your next family gathering. For starters, loose leaf tea is preferable over supermarket tea bags (which are often adulterated and of inferior quality), according to Afternoon Tea of the UK. Heavenly Tea Leaves' vast selection of gourmet loose-leaf tea leaves you with plenty of options; the most apt for this occasion would be the Afternoon Tea Sampler, which comprises four lovely teas to please any palette. For the caffeine-sensitive, the sampler comes in an herbal version, too. To stack your accompanying snacks, grab a pretty, tiered cookie tray, preferably in sterling silver for the full effect!


Other pointers

Never dip your biscuit, crumpet, or any other side snack into your tea. Layer jam over cream on your scone. If adding milk (for example, to black tea), pour the milk into the cup first for a better combination of the liquids. And when it comes to your appearance, dress up! Doltone House also recommends eating your tea sandwiches, scones, and other snacks with your hands (contrary to what you might think would be polite).

While etiquette centering around drinking tea might seem antiquated, it is in fact a nearly lost art, and a tradition that should be revered and preserved. We, for one, are working hard to help make that happen.


Photo credit: @bunabuna1234 (Instagram)

Après-tea: The Best Teas to Enjoy on Your Next Ski Trip

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 10 months ago 5288 Views No comments

It's mountain season! You might be going to actually ski, but it's more likely that you're going for some snow tubing, snowshoeing, jacuzzi time, or R&R in the lodge. From the snow-capped Swiss Alps and Aspen to the humble hills of the Berkshires and Catskills, the satisfaction of a nice cup of h̶o̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶c̶o̶a̶ soothing tea after a long winter day is the ultimate satisfaction.

One great part about tea is that it's easily transportable. All you really need is some hot water and you can make your favorite cup just about anywhere. The types of tea you want to enjoy at the chalet are deep, hearty, warming, and comforting. They do not skimp on flavor or intensity and they radiate the joyous spirit we still like to have coming off the holidays.

If you're heading to luxurious Banff this ski season, the Fairmont Banff Springs and Chateau even offers a luxurious afternoon tea that will give you a taste of the most exquisite post-slope blends (plus pastries, of course!), including green infusions, yerba mate, Egyptian chamomile, Maple Maple, and other signature blends of the resort. We've got to check this experience off our list.


In the meantime, you can create your own cold-weather tea experience no matter where you're headed (or, hint: even at home). We've compiled a few recommendations from the Heavenly Tea Leaves team to complete your next wintertime getaway.

If you want a sampler pack so you can try out a few different types of tea, try our Flavored Black Tea Sampler. This luxurious tea set contains four beautifully packaged loose leaf black teas that are invigorating, giving you the naturally-caffeinated boost you need to get through a physically intense ski trip. It will also help restore your energy after a long day of ups-and-downs, or become the perfect fire pit companion. Our personal favorite of the bunch? Ginger Black. (The ginger will help protect and relieve you from swollen feet, or the sniffles.)

If a spice-infused floral tea is more your thing, Turmeric Bliss is our preferred pick. This unique turmeric-heavy blend gives the punch of spices like cardamom with the calming floral notes of lavender, rose petals, and hibiscus. This blend will clear your head and warm your body in an instant – the perfect cold weather elixir. If you're brewing it yourself, make sure to use water that's come to a boil and steep for about five minutes.

Next on the list, the exotic theme continues with White Chai. This is a white tea blend – a great, relaxing option for those looking for depth of flavor with a lower caffeine level than that of black tea. This tea is made from Organic white tea, lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger, pineapple, pink peppercorns, coconut, clove, cardamom, and natural cinnamon flavor – a combination with a knockout flavor and aroma. You'll be warm and ready to go back up on the mountain after drinking some of this one on your break.

Another (very aptly titled) caffeine-free option is Heavenly Tea Leaves' Warmth. What makes it so warm, aside from the fact that it's best consumed hot? Organic turmeric, orange peel, vanilla, and other naturally cozy ingredients.

So, are you feeling toasty yet? These tea suggestions, in lieu of a fancy afternoon tea at a chateau, are perfectly paired with breakfast, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dessert after dinner, and even a before-bed treat (in the case of the herbal ones). What's special about a winter getaway is that unique juxtaposition of wood and snow, pine and frost, warm and cold, crisp and spicy, fresh and earthy. By bringing along your favorite selection of tea for the ride, you'll create just the right balance. Cheers to your next Après-tea!

​Choosing the Perfect Tea for Every Version of You

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 4149 Views No comments

A true tea drinker does not neatly fall under one category. As a tea devotee, you could be a free spirit or a cautious introvert, a runner or a yogi, a businesswoman or a full-time mom. You could be full of energy or constantly calm; you could be all about having guests or happiest solo. Wherever your groove lies, though, a certain Heavenly Tea Leaves gourmet loose leaf tea is made just for that.

Tea comes in many origins, shapes, and sizes, each with unique, naturally-occurring properties. One person could prefer many teas and a group of people might prefer a single, staple tea. But most of the time, people drink tea based on their respective routines and moods. No matter your habits, personality, or lifestyle, we've rounded up the most suitable for each and every kind of tea lover.


Athlete's tea

Pre-exercise, you're looking for a tea that can provide you a smooth stream of energy. An athlete needs a tea that's both invigorating and delicious. That's why Rose Oolong, a partially oxidized, medium-caffeine tea, is the perfect option.

Rose Oolong


Sleeper's Tea

Those who love to doze off early and quickly each evening need a tisane that's synonymous with sleep. An intoxicating elixir of valerian root, lemongrass, and other sleep-inducing herbal ingredients will have you dreaming peacefully in no time.

Sleep


Holiday Tea

The air is crisp and family and friends are gathered around the table. Before or after dinner, enjoy the sumptuous flavors of this unique dessert blend based in high-quality black tea. Featuring bits of organic raspberry, cocoa husks, and flower petals, this is a truly festive brew.

Raspberry Cocoa Truffle Black


De-stressing Tea

Are you wound up tighter than you should be? Sometimes, all it takes to decompress after a long day or week is the right cup of tea. Our fragrant Chamomile Lavender blend captures the essence of relaxation thanks to healthy heaps of organic lavender flowers and calming chamomile.

Chamomile Lavender


Early Riser's Tea

No beverage provides a jolt of energy the way green tea does. If you're early to rise, you'll want a steady boost to last you for several hours without the jitters or the hard crash that comes with a cup of coffee. That's where Japanese Zen Super Green tea comes in. With a vegetal aroma that blends precious sencha with matcha tea powder, it'll be the most pleasant way you've ever started your early morning.

Zen Super Green


Exotic Traveler's Tea

Featuring body-easing and detoxifying ingredients like organic ginger and cardamom, Rooibos Cream Chai is reminiscent of the Far East and the spices traded along the ancient Silk Road. In a more practical sense, drinking this blend while you're traveling will help keep you satisfied, energized, and de-bloated!

Rooibos Cream Chai


Yoga Retreater's Tea

For the health nut and diet detoxer, tea isn't just a drink – it's a lifestyle. Our Serenity Tea is all about balance; it's made from the planet's most healthful ingredients like peppermint and chamomile – all organic, of course. This one will have you aboard the wholesome lifestyle train ASAP.

Serenity


Glam Host's tea

Having company over, be it for a fancy dinner party or a lovely lunch, isn't complete without the serving of a truly gourmet pot of tea. With its neutral taste and its high quality evident with each sip, no tea is more suitable for special guests than rich and flavorful Ceylon Black.

Ceylon Black


If you're unsure about which teas you prefer, our loose leaf tea samplers are a great place to start. Our extensive line of custom samplers is categorized by tea type and theme so you can try out a variety of options and figure out your favorites!

Tea is all about bringing people together and satisfying their taste buds, as different from one another they may be. The tennis player and the fashion model can sit together and enjoy whichever distinct Heavenly Tea Leaves blend strikes their fancy. After all, in the wise words of Maya Angelou: "We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike."

​Tea and Sustainability: Going Green

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 4306 Views No comments

Agricultural sustainability has become a bigger issue than ever this year as a number of large corporations are taking steps toward reducing waste and pollution. As sales of loose leaf tea continue to rise, our duty to reduce our carbon footprint in enjoying tea should be at the forefront of our minds. After all, without Mother Earth, there would be no tea to enjoy, and wouldn't that be sad?

The huge recent push to ban plastic straws in the United States has come on the heels of controversial news about vast swaths of plastic junk crowding our oceans and even blocking the nasal passageways of precious marine life like sea turtles. By making tiny sacrifices on behalf of ourselves and our businesses, we can make a huge improvement in the lives of many people and animals around the world. Reducing our carbon footprint by lowering our daily disposable plastic consumption is a major step toward going green, but we can all undoubtedly do more. From kitchen utensils to office supplies to food and beverage, there are unlimited areas to which we can direct our attention and make a difference.

Tea is no exception – instead of being part of the problem, we want to be part of the solution. At Heavenly Tea Leaves, we are striving to make our full line of tea eco-friendly. Supporting organic and sustainable farming practices that help nurture the delicate earth from which our tea grows is just one step. All of our tea samplers are packed in 100% biodegradable kraft paper boxes; we encourage our customers to reuse their tins. Still, we are aware that this is just one of the many steps we can take to improve our carbon footprint. Ultimately, it's the small steps that we take collectively that will really make a difference in saving our planet.

We totally understand that making some of these changes may seem abstract. But there are plenty of tactics, large and small, that you can employ in order to contribute to saving the planet. We have compiled a list of some of the ways in which you can go green in your daily routine:

  1. Skip the disposable water bottle. This one is as straightforward as it seems. Reuse bottles like the S'well and save a ton of plastic. Unless you're in a dire situation, avoid purchasing disposable plastic water bottles! Plastic is one of the most significant problems we face on a daily basis, so making small strides is a huge deal.
  2. Get on your bike. Carpool. Ride public transit. In addition to raising your heart rate, biking is great for the earth, assuming you're doing it instead of driving, which burns dangerous fossil fuels. Carpooling and public transportation can really help in the grand scheme of things, too.
  3. Eat smart and plant-based. Natural and organic foods that come straight from the earth, like nuts, seeds, tea, fruits, and vegetables are your best bet in terms of avoiding chemical processing and supporting sustainable farming methods that treat the Earth well. Reducing your meat intake can have a huge impact as well, as over-farming and carbon pollution from cows have become increasingly problematic.
  4. Keep electronics out of the garbage can. Donate and recycle plastic and chemical-heavy items like old computers and CD players and make sure to dispose properly of hazardous waste, such as batteries.
  5. Think carefully about kitchen tools and grocery items. A metal tea strainer can be reused infinitely, whereas traditional paper tea bags are more wasteful. This also saves space (and money!).
  6. Switch your bulbs. LED lights give you amazing lighting without the electric waste. Plus, you save a ton on power bills.
  7. Support green institutions. Donating to environmental causes or staying at hotels that put sustainability first are great ways to create a strong economy around the cause, which in turn will help gain social and political clout.

It's pretty simple: The only way our planet will survive our current consumption, population growth, and environmental damage is if we acknowledge these problems and gradually make steps to bring change. Each one of us can get closer to becoming more sustainable and conscious of preserving our precious planet. Now is the time when we decide whether we want to sit back and watch, or make a change. And the will to change starts with each and every one of us. Are you in?

Why You Should Drink Organic Tea (And Our Favorite Summertime Picks)

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 4585 Views No comments


After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. And of the billions of tea consumers on the planet, many are drinking multiple cups of tea a day – whether it's along with breakfast, two in a row, or one with dinner and then dessert.

In summer, tea consumption shows no signs of slowing down. We might drink our favorite varieties iced, or choose different flavors to celebrate the cheer of the season, like berry or floral varieties. So, if we love our tea all year-round, perhaps the best approach to worries about the composition, integrity, and health benefits of our brew is to get on board with organic tea.

While organic tea may often cost more than a typical cup, its perks are endless and the knowledge of its ingredients leaves you with peace of mind (and depth of flavor!).

Let's start out with a few basics. Organic tea, like other certified organic foods, uses no synthetic fertilizers while being farmed. Its chemical-free taste leaves you with a more flavorful cup, no matter what type of tea you're consuming. Instead of being left on while the leaf air dries, the residues that form on organic tea leaves are manually rinsed off before processing. This method results in a natural and round-tasting brew.

Now, let's get onto safety. Tea grown in accordance with organic farming standards is totally safe. But why? Because the plant of origin is free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers – all of which end up in the final product in one way or another. As these teas are totally free from toxins and hormones that may seep into fertilizer, organic tea is also a great stabilizer, never affecting your critical hormonal balance. Also remember that these teas are non-GMO, meaning that they are not grown from seeds that have been genetically modified in a lab, but rather, are totally natural.

Moving onto another important point: healing. Many who are new to tea are attracted to it in the first place because of its world-renowned healing properties. And those drinkers are totally on the right track! Organic teas are super-high in nutrients and vitamins that have been demonstrated to help alleviate all sorts of conditions and illnesses, both major and minor. It is also a common form of alternative medicine and many times it is recommended in conjunction with a healthy diet and overall regimen. If you feel better drinking larger quantities of organic tea, you might be more likely to turn to tea for healing, and receive its best results.

Going hand-in-hand with healing is nutrition. As organic tea is highest on the tea purity totem pole, it may in some cases contain higher concentrations of key vitamins and antioxidants (including sought-after polyphenols like catechins). Because tea plants tend to pull a high amount of fluoride from the soil, a bonus to super-pure organic tea is that it may boost your dental health. Plus, organic tea has earned a reputation for carrying loads of disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as vitamins D and H.

Finally, organic tea has one other major benefit: saving the planet. Organic farming practices lend themselves to more responsible, sustainable, and ethical methods that prevent problems with pests and soil quality. Plus, organic farmers rotate crops on the same land year after year, meaning they hinder deforestation. A greener planet means better tea for all of us in the long run!


The tea experts at Heavenly Tea Leaves have compiled a summertime list of some of our favorite organic teas and tisanes, which we suggest incorporating into your repertoire. With fruity and floral flavors, as well as notes that lend themselves well to creating refreshing cold-brews, any of these tea varieties is a no-brainer. Without further ado:

Chamomile:

Chamomile is a known relaxant and sedative. It's floral flavor makes it a great iced option. Add a dash of raw honey for a nice touch of sweetness.

Ginger Peach White:

With a sweet nectar-like flavor from white tea, and mild, sweet peachy tones, Ginger Peach White makes a fantastic iced tea!

Orange Oolong:

Orange Oolong is a sweet, citrusy, and refreshing tea is perfect for the summer months. Its depth of flavor, thanks to an oolong base, is lightened by the distinct flavor of organic orange peels.

Organic Herbal Tea Sampler:

The benefit of tea sampler sets is that you never have to choose just one. Including flavors like rooibos, Peppermint, Earl Grey Rooibos, and coconutty Pina Colada, this tea sampler is your organic go-to. This delicious mix is also certified kosher!

Organic Custom Loose Leaf Tea Sampler:

When you don't know which organic teas to choose for summer, why not custom-make your own set of four? Organic Custom Loose Leaf Sampler gives you the ability to pick and choose from our vast selection of organic teas so you can decide which ones you love the most.

Peppermint:

Peppermint is a classic, refreshing herbal tea. Although it contains no caffeine, it provides a perfect natural boost thanks to an invigorating flavor and the natural energy-boosting qualities of peppermint.


Whether you like your tea hot, cold, or either way, the practices and final product resulting from organic farming methods produce better, more sustainable teas. If you don't believe us, give it a try and taste the difference yourself!

​It's Tea (Terminology) Time!

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 6304 Views No comments

Although there are many international languages – love, music, food – there is one beverage that makes the ranks as truly international, and that is tea. From the Far East to North America, from Copenhagen to Cape Town, tea is enjoyed and appreciated in people's daily lives. But what goes into making a cup of tea? What is the verbiage that comes with a hot or cold brew?

From the farmers who pick the tea plant to the final steps of brewing at home, there is a whole host of terminology that goes along with each stage in the life of tea. Whether you are buying pre-packaged iced tea from the supermarket, making a pot of loose leaf hot tea from scratch, or doing some research on the internet, you have likely come across some head-scratching vocabulary. Ever wonder what camellia sinensis is? What about a tea grade, a tisane, or a bloom? As responsible tea purveyors, we at Heavenly Tea Leaves are here to provide you with Tea Terminology 101: a lesson in the most important tea terms to know, no matter where you're enjoying your cup. Thanks to our expert team and some of our friends across the land of tea, we present our mini-glossary of tea terms without further ado:


Aroma: The overall scent (or "nose") and character of the tea.

Astringent: The bitter, harsh, and pungent taste and texture that remains on the tongue after sipping tea containing high tannin levels.

Body/mouth feel: Quite literally, the way the liquid feels in your mouth. Relating to texture, weight, and viscosity of the tea. Can be wispy, light, medium, or full-bodied.

Camellia sinensis: The most common species of tea plant used to produce black tea, as well as many green, white, oolong, and pu-erh varieties. There are two varietals of this plant: camellia sinensis sinensis and camellia sinensis assamica.

Character: The general, inherent traits of a certain tea type based on estate or region where it is produced.

Fair trade: Tea that is purchased from tea producers at fair market value and traded without coercion or exploitation.

Finish: The flavors and feels that linger in the mouth after you take a sip.

Flat/Dull/Off: A stale taste; the opposite of rich or brisk.

Flush: A complete group of fully harvested tea leaves that is ready to be picked.

Grade: The category given to black teas from the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, and Africa, based on the size of the leaf and the presence of tips. Tippy, golden, flowery, broken, orange, and pekoe are some of the grading terms used. These are usually abbreviated (e.g. OP, BOP, FOP, GFOP, TGFOP, etc.).

Liquor: The brewed liquid remaining after the actual tea is removed from the pot. This is the part we actually consume.

Malty: A flavor or finish reminiscent of wheat or barley, often with a velvety-smooth texture. Similar to "biscuit" or fresh-baked bread flavors; the term is often used to characterize black Assam teas.

Mature: Tea that tastes ripe and full-bodied, lacking flatness or bitterness that comes with a leaf picked too early in the season.

Organic: Teas grown according to USDA guidelines or those of other national certifying organizations for organic farming. These often lack synthetic pesticides and other potential toxins.

Origin: Very simply, where the tea has been grown. You will usually come across tea origins like India, Ceylon, China, or Japan. More recently, teas and tisanes have been labeled with origins like Bangladesh, Vietnam, and parts of Africa.

Orthodox: Whole-leaf tea that has not been excessively processed, keeping to the original integrity and flavor of the leaf.

Pluck: The word for picking or harvesting tea.

Single-estate/single-garden: While most commercially available teas are a blend grown in multiple gardens, single-estate teas are all grown on the same tea farm.

Tannin: Also used as a measure in wine tasting, this is the chemical component in tea that determines its astringency and palate-cleansing abilities. Too-high or too-low tannin levels throw the balance of your brew off.

Tarry: As in tar-like – having a smoky aroma.

Tisane: Also known as herbal tea, tisanes are natural plant infusions that do not come from the camellia sinensis plant and therefore also do not usually contain caffeine. Examples include chamomile, peppermint, and rooibos.


We hope you enjoyed our mini tea glossary! What is more important than knowing these names, though, is knowing the concepts behind them and how they affect your brew. The next time you are tasting a new tea, remember, knowledge is power!

Teas of Spring (pre-Qing Ming) and China’s Qing Ming Festival

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 6912 Views No comments

Spring is celebrated in different ways in each part of the world as the flowers bloom and sun emerges. While we at Heavenly Tea Leaves kick off every season with new and climate-friendly teas, spring is especially dear to us because of the range of teas it welcomes. The teas we favor in this warm-up season can be hot or iced, bold or delicate, white or black, invigorating or calming. Regardless of your choice, this season is all about good moods and positive energy; no doubt, these feelings can always be channeled through tea.

In China, spring is celebrated with an entire festival called Qing Ming – or the Pure Brightness Festival. Starting this year on April 5th, this annual festival incorporates ritual sweeping of tombs (as well as pouring wine and tea around the tombs as an act of commemoration), kite flying, lighting of firecrackers, and of course, food and beverage offerings, which is where the tea comes into play.

As a major historical producer and consumer of tea, China has adopted the drink into the core of its culture. This holiday is ultimately about honoring one's ancestors through various customs meant to acknowledge both spring and Chinese history. Along with rice balls, cakes, porridge, and other traditional foods and snacks, those celebrating the festival consume various pre-Qing Ming teas.

What does pre-Qing Ming mean, anyway? The teas served at this time of year come from tea plants that are harvested earlier in the season, before the festival; this signifies drinking from the very first harvest of the year in accordance with the Chinese calendar. These early harvest teas, according to Fresh Cup magazine, are a super-valuable agricultural gift. "When the buds and leaves of the tea plant are harvested early and with care, they can constitute some of the highest prized, praised, and priced teas of the year. But each harvest of new growth—known as a 'flush'—has its own character," writes Fresh Cup's Liz Clayton.

She continues: "Teas harvested before Qingming... are rare due to the extremely short harvest window—which can range from a few weeks to around ten days—between bud readiness and the arrival of the fifth of April. Hallmarks of these teas are the tender buds which yield a range of complex and delicate flavors—from tea to tea these may be more vegetal, floral, or grassy than the later-harvest expressions of the same plants. They may contain a richer concentration of nutrients like amino acids and a lower concentration of astringent-tasting catechins than later pickings."


Early harvest Chinese teas are beloved by the Heavenly Tea Leaves team, too, as they are noted for their versatility and delicate nature. Here are some of the newest pre-Qing Ming teas we are featuring this spring:

Qing Shan Lu Shui hails from the Chinese Tashan Mountain region and is grown at an unusually high 800-meter altitude. Picked from the Anji white tea bush, this prized tea is noted for its mixture of bright green and yellow tea leaves, delivering a fresh flavor and a subtly sweet finish. Celebrated for its cooling properties, Qing Shan Lu Shui makes the perfect hot weather comfort beverage.

Gou Nao Gong is the most well-known of Hunan province's specialty pre-Qing Ming teas. This variety originates in Chenzhou City in the Mangshan Mountain region, which has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm and pleasant weather. The young Gou Nao Gong leaf is picked from the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, whose distinctive twisted shape and thick body yield a light and fruity taste.

Jin Jun Mei is harvested in the famous Fujian tea garden on the southeast coast of China, which is owned and run by a small and dedicated tea farming family along with expert tea masters. This black tea is processed with the whole leaf and the half-open bud of the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, resulting in a reddish brew and floral aftertaste. Jin Jun Mei is one of the rarest teas in our collection, as only 50 kilograms a year is available for distribution.

Drangonwell is a highly-prized green tea. The flat, long leaf is typical of this pan-fired tea, which is a result of highly skilled shaping techniques developed over centuries. This years harvest was plucked on March 19, 2018, containing notes of roasted nuts, with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel.

Silver Needle is a very mild white tea with woody notes. Although it is typically cultivated in Fujian, this pre-Qing Ming tea comes from Yunnan, China.


Above all, springtime is about coming together with friends and family to enjoy beautiful weather, happy occasions, and delicious meals. Mark any of these happy moments with a delicious cup of tea – and this spring, make it a pre-Qing Ming one from Heavenly Tea Leaves!

​Tea as Alternative Medicine (Health Benefits of Tea)

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 11002 Views No comments

For as long as tea has been around (millennia, that is), the drink has gone hand-in-hand with healing. Eastern medicine has prized various teas for their natural healing abilities.

Of course, while we love to take tea with a lump of sugar, we must also be careful to take its curative abilities with a grain of salt. Alternative medical remedies may help alleviate or even prevent certain conditions, but it may never act as a full replacement to scientifically validated Western medicine.

Holistic and integrative practitioners like Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy prefer to take a "whole person" approach to medicine – that is, never using exclusively one treatment or prevention method, but rather, using all of them. In establishing Heavenly Tea Leaves, our founder, Noushin Ebrani, has found that drinking tea on a regular basis is one of the many choices you can make to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. While a number of studies have linked tea to preventative and even curative benefits, we simply see tea as a piece of the puzzle in healing.


Though no single method can work miracles, the powerful components in tea have been shown to help combat the first signs of bodily damage. Here are a few tea types to add into your regimen of a natural diet and frequent exercise:

Chamomile:

This tea is a famous bedtime relaxation remedy, but a secondary and equally important benefit is digestion. Chamomile has long been used to treat colic in infants and is also a common remedy to alleviate diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome along with upset stomach, ulcers, flatulence, and more. But the chief digestive benefit to chamomile seems to be for the relief of acid reflux and other gastroesophageal disorders. Because of its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, the tea (or the extract) serves as a natural antacid. In addition, chamomile's calming properties contribute to stress relief, which is a huge component in reducing acid reflux flare-ups.

Beyond digestive aid, chamomile is suggested to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. It has also been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in certain cases. Try our Chamomile for the smooth, relaxing whole leaf tea you've been looking for.

Lavender:

In the realm of herbal teas, perhaps the best-known aid for relaxation and de-stressing is lavender. One whiff of its lovely floral scent will transport you to the rural lavender fields of France. Lavender has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years thanks to its large amounts of vitamins and minerals not often found in a single plant. Because of those ingredients plus its phenolic compounds and terpenes, lavender packs a powerful punch. Whether in the form of a tea, an essential oil, a capsule, or otherwise, lavender's calming character is undeniable. The primary oil found in lavender, called lavandin, has been demonstrated to lend sedating and muscle relaxing effects. The flower has also been used to reduce muscle spasms and headaches, balance mood, aid sleep, treat anxiety by offsetting stress hormones, and suppress pain. No wonder it's known as a relaxant! Other benefits of drinking lavender include antibacterial and antifungal powers. Heavenly Tea Leaves' Chamomile Lavender is definitely a customer favorite!

Green Tea:

Perhaps the most lauded tea in terms of health benefits is the vegetal, antioxidant-rich green tea. The tea's bioactive compounds help reduce inflammation, which in turn may contribute to cancer prevention. Green tea contains about 30% polyphenols (specifically catechins like EGCG), which makes it a very rich source of powerful antioxidants. While these antioxidants fight free radical formation in the body, they also help ward off many diseases, including the most pernicious, like cancer. Further, a number of studies that have specifically focused on breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers have shown that drinking more green tea was inversely related to the development of cancer cells in participants. This is not to say that green tea alone is a prevention or a cure, but it may certainly contribute. But remember: Always choose a high quality green tea. Lower quality green teas often contain excessive fluoride, and possibly other additives, making it likely more harmful than helpful. Our vast line of green teas gives you plenty of options for a range of flavor profiles and blends.

Oolong Tea:

While many teas have been attributed to helping drinkers lose weight, oolong is king. Consumption of natural oolong tea has been linked in studies to both weight loss and body fat loss according to the LiveStrong foundation; this comes with the caveat that the oolong tea replaces higher calorie beverages and is part of a healthy diet. The specific compounds in oolong tea, polyphenols (and again, catechins), are responsible for this weight and fat loss property, even effective in high-sugar diets in some instances. Not to mention, oolong contains caffeine, a metabolic stimulant and possible weight loss aid and appetite suppressant. A note: One 2013 study showed that drinking tea hot contributes to higher levels of weight loss than having it on ice. Tea for thought!

Pu-erh Tea:

Last but not least on our list of suggested medicinal teas, there is pu-erh. Because it is the most oxidized type of tea, it doesn't pack the antioxidant punch of some of its counterparts, but it instead has been viewed as extremely heart-healthy. In addition to a general cardiovascular benefit, pu-erh has been credited for the reduction of serum cholesterol. Because pu-erh is aged and goes through a fermentation process before it is dried, it not only delivers a rich taste, but it is also high in micro-organisms that in turn produce lovastatin, a naturally occuring statin (yes, like the drugs we take to reduce bad cholesterol). So, if keeping your heart super healthy is on your mind, pu-erh is likely a great choice. Our simple, mild, and earthy Royal Pu-erh tastes and feels divine. Why not give it a try?


So, holistic lesson learned – while tea is delicious, it's also a true health food and a powerful form of alternative or integrative medicine. Adding various teas in your daily routine can help you start taking the "whole-person" approach in order to treat or prevent certain ailments and contribute to overall well-being. Health is simply a collection of habits. One day at a time, including tea can be one simple and life-altering habit. Make it yours!



**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the One You Love: Tea Gifts

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 6084 Views No comments

As the snow trickles down and the lights go up, the holiday season is in overdrive - but that doesn't mean it's too late for gifting! There are always the typical options when it comes to holiday offerings – clothing, electronics, mittens, cheese platters, and bespoke mugs. But thinking outside of the box - literally - could be the best thing you do this year for your loved ones. If you are seeking something different for an established tea devotee or potential tea addict, 'tis certainly the season. Heavenly Tea Leaves boasts an endless selection of both teas and lovely teaware, both practical and beautiful. Aside from drinking, tea can be used in baking and in other health-promoting practices, and when displayed in pretty canisters, it also amplifies the beauty of any holiday dessert table. By the same token, gorgeous teaware makes for an elegant piece of décor in your china cabinet as much as it functions as serveware.

While any Heavenly product makes for an excellent and unexpected present, our team has rounded up a few of the most coveted and useful tea-related items that don't break the bank. Happy hunting!


Classic Minimalist:

Bodum Assam Tea Press

There is no gift like that of sophistication and simplicity. This legendary tea press is crafted from glass with a silicone rim for effortless pouring. While most teapots fail to keep tea from over-brewing and becoming bitter, this one is specially designed so that once the plunger is down, brewing halts and the tea remains at optimal intensity. This sleek pot makes a perfect host or holiday gift for loose-leaf tea aficionados.

On-the-Go:

Heavenly Tea Leaves Double Glass Tea Steeper To-Go

Who doesn't appreciate some travel/on-the-go swag? This signature Heavenly Tea Leaves mug features innovative double-walled glass to prevent burns. Enjoy steeped loose-leaf tea on the go without worrying about spills – plus, it's dishwasher safe (the gift of convenience!). Through the 2017 winter season only, enjoy a discounted price of $19.99.

Tea Sampler:

Heavenly Tea Leaves Holiday Tea Sampler Gift Set

Arranged specifically with holiday cheer in mind, this colorful set features a selection of four gourmet loose leaf teas: Organic Sleep, Rose Black, Rose Oolong, and Jasmine Green. With several tea types and flavors in a single, eco-friendly package, this set – a year-round favorite at Heavenly Tea Leaves – is sure to please both connoisseurs and newbies.

Pick and Choose:

Heavenly Tea Leaves Custom Loose Leaf Tea Sampler Gift Set

It's the sampler set for the recipient who knows what she wants! Create the ideal assortment of four cans of loose leaf tea containing one each of green, black, herbal, and white teas. With a total of approximately 80 servings, this is Heavenly Tea Leaves' gift that keeps on giving.

Alternative Health Nut:

Heavenly Tea Leaves Ceremonial Grade Matcha

Also featuring a special price through the holidays, this tin of pure, drinking-quality matcha is the vitamin-packed alternative to regular green tea. Originating in Nishio, Japan, this earthy and mild powdered tea is known for its energy-boosting and antioxidant properties. Matcha of this caliber is truly a rare find; drink it straight up or in latte form with a dash of hot milk.


We would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday! As a thank you for your loyalty and support, are offering a limited-time "Heavenly" holiday promotion – an additional 10% off of all products using the code "holidayheaven" at checkout . So, before rushing to the typical gifts and mundane stocking stuffers of years' past, consider giving the gift of tea to put smiles on the faces of your friends and family.

Heavenly Tea Leaves Tea Samplers: Making the Most of Your Tea Experience

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 14820 Views 1 comment

Picture it: You're perusing teas on your favorite gourmet website or at that amazing tea shop in town. Maybe you are new to the tea world or maybe you know exactly what you like. But either way, the confusion sets in. Do you stick to your tradition or venture out of your comfort zone? The options are endless! Lemon or raspberry? Green or rooibos? Bold or light? Caffeinated or herbal? What if your morning preference is different than your evening one? If you're buying a gift, the problems just grow – how can you pick just one and make sure that the recipient will enjoy it? How can you make one package look pretty?

All of these questions have run through our heads. As tea experts and addicts at Heavenly Tea Leaves, we have taken it upon ourselves to offer a delicious solution to your tea selecting woes: our tea samplers!

Heavenly Tea Leaves' signature gourmet tea samplers feature multiple hand selected, beautifully arranged varieties of loose leaf tea. Our samplers are always made with eco-friendly packaging and come in a number of sizes, flavors, and categories to suit your needs. You can even customize to your exact taste! No matter the time of day, occasion, or craving, here are some Heavenly Tea Leaves samplers that have you covered:


The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Organic Morning Lift Tea Sampler

Give your day a kick-start by brewing one of these enlivening aromas. From Minty Morning to Ginger Lemon Green, this sampler will never fail to help you feel fresh and invigorated when starting the day. Take your time to taste 20 servings of this awesome, certified organic arrangement.


For When You Just Can't Decide

Nine Flavor Variety Pack

Featuring white, green, oolong, chamomile, and several more tea types, you can't lose with this colorful set. Treat yourself or a loved one to a well-rounded selection of fine loose leaf flavors – a tea beginner's dream. Serve up a brew based on your mood, the weather, or your company!


To Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Dessert Tea Sampler

Ever feel like having an entire key lime pie, but without the calories? How about a chocolate raspberry tart or a piña colada? Enjoy these delightful tastes and more in our Dessert Tea Sampler. If you have a one-track mind focused on after-dinner sweets, this four-flavor set is the ideal way to indulge without indulging.


Transport Yourself

Exotic Tea Sampler

For the upscale and well-traveled Heavenly tea drinker, we recommend the Exotic Tea Sampler. This certified kosher set provides an adventurous mix that includes Marrakech Mint, Organic Ginger Lemon Green, and other far-out flavors. This combination of teas is anything but typical and sure to please any serious tea drinker. Present this one for a special occasion, too!


Some Like it Cold

Iced Tea Sampler

If you've never experimented with cold brewing tea, here is your chance. Teas like Apple Green and Ginger Peach have been individually tasted and selected by our team for properties that lend themselves to superior taste when brewed cold. For a warm day when you'd love your fruity tea over ice, grab the Iced Tea Sampler and read up on how to brew your best cup.


Come Bearing Gifts

Tea Sampler Gift Set

No present is more elegant, practical, or universal than that of tea. This lovely package is a Heavenly Tea Leaves bestseller – and is it any wonder? With varieties ranging from the classic English Breakfast to the enticing Tropical White, there's something in it for everyone. Make a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or engagement all the more special with this unique gift.


Winding Down

Organic Sleep Tea Sampler

When all you can think about is getting some shut-eye, reach for our certified organic Sleep Tea Sampler and take your pick. Whether you pour yourself a cup of Stress Ease, Peppermint, Serenity, or Chamomile Lavender, you are sure to feel relaxed and relieved. A drink from this set is especially helpful for those seeking a peaceful night in.


A Monthly Surprise

Heavenly Tea Leaves Tea Sampler of the Month Club

What's more exciting than subscribing to a magazine, snack pack, or a makeup box? Tea, of course! By joining the club, you or a friend will receive two Heavenly samplers in the mail every other month. Sign up for just two months, or up to a whole year. Check out the designated samplers for each month here. The Sampler of the Month Club is an excellent idea for a holiday surprise, or a lovely gift to yourself.


So, here you have it. Options on options of Heavenly Tea Leaves tea samplers available in various sizes, price ranges, and categories. If you're looking for value and beauty that doesn't sacrifice taste and quality, Heavenly Tea Leaves is your final destination. And the signature sets featured here are just the tip of the iceberg! Take a look at the Heavenly Tea Leaves site to browse the full selection.

P.S.: If the idea of brewing loose leaf tea scares you, you have nothing to worry about. It's actually pretty simple. Take your strainer (paper, metal, glass, etc.) and place one teaspoon of your selected tea inside. Put the strainer in your cup and pour boiling water over it. Follow the temperature and steep time provided with your Heavenly Tea Leaves package, and voilà! Your flavorful loose leaf tea is ready to enjoy.


The Wonders of Green Tea: Everything You Need To Know

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 3 years ago 17178 Views 1 comment

When it comes to wellness, you can't go wrong with a cup of green tea. Year after year, studies emerge suggesting that this drink, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, have some serious superpowers. Drinking green tea has been clinically shown to help with everything from cholesterol and weight management to bone health and even free radical delay. (It is thought that free radical proteins in the brain are what lead to diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.)

Wellbeing of the mind and body starts with daily habits. Incorporating a couple of servings of green tea in your everyday regimen can make you start feeling healthier and more vibrant almost immediately. If you're already a heavy coffee drinker and concerned about your caffeine intake, try replacing one of your coffees with green tea. This is a clean alternative at a comparable price and with an awakening result. Why not experiment?

The benefits of green tea seem endless; studies have been conducted for years and scientists continue to examine its role in supporting a balanced lifestyle. A recent Today Show segment dubbed green tea a superfood, rating it an amazing 4 on a 1-5 scale. The hosts pointed out that catechins (EGCG), a type of antioxidant found in green tea, have been shown to 'relax blood vessels' and therefore ease blood pressure. Plus, increased blood flow to the brain means improved overall brain and body function. This is based on just two cups a day!

And then there's the taste. Green tea differs from other teas in its grassy, herbal, earthy flavor profile. It is also unique in that, when mixed with other flavors, it yields a whole new, complex profile that is very different from, say, a black or white–plus herbal concoction. Green tea is far from muted or neutral. Though calming, its taste is distinct and bold. It's a beverage that will make you pause to enjoy each sip. When combined with a drop of honey, it's simply divine.

What most people are surprised to learn is that all green teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The processing will make each of these nine distinct types of green tea from Japan different from one another. Elements such as what part of the plant is used, whether the plant is mostly exposed to shade or sun, when the leaf is picked, and how the tea is exposed to heat will affect the taste and characteristic of the tea. Japanese green teas including Gyokuro are very well know for having a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor.

The other famous tea nation – China – has been cultivating tea trees for more than 2,000 years, incorporating it into medicine and cultural practices that remain engrained in the society today. While China grows all types of tea, some of the most famous green teas are Dragonwell, Bi Luo Chun, Chun Mee, Mao Jian.

Of all the green tea varieties and blends to choose from, each has a new character, but all contain the same essential benefits.

To focus the spotlight on green tea's calming properties and richness of flavor, try out Zen Super Green from Kagoshima, Japan. This is a mixture of high-grade sencha tea with its powdered, concentrated cousin, matcha. The combination results in a velvety, umami taste as a result of farming methods that delay the matcha plant growth.

Finally, we suggest another premium grade green tea that provides the energy boost that the beverage is famous for. Mao Feng is a single bud variety grown at high altitudes in the tea-specializing region of Hunan, China. With a well-rounded, straightforward flavor, you can drink this tea with breakfast to cleanse your palette and perk you up for the day!

Once you choose the green tea of your liking, you can bask in some more of its unexpected upsides, like its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Jazz up your cup with other superfoods like fresh ginger, or add a natural sweetener like agave to mitigate a strong herbaceous flavor.

Which green tea adventure awaits you?

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Tea Pairing: Pairing Tea With Food

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 3 years ago 9758 Views No comments

In 2015, NPR reported that tea sommeliers – that is, tea tasting experts – were the "hot new thing" in food pairing. Today, that trend shows no signs of slowing down. Sure, a nice glass of wine with dinner has traditionally been the gourmand's go-to. But what if we could reap the same joy from a pot of darjeeling tea with foie gras as we do from a glass of merlot with a filet mignon?

"The whole idea of pairing tea with food is that you should have a tea that's going to enhance the flavor of the food, or vice versa. What you want to happen in your mouth is to feel the different layers of taste and flavors... It's like a dine sommelier, giving you advice, depending on what kind of tea you want to drink, what time of the day it is, and what you're eating," says Aurelie Bessiere, a tea sommelier. - NPR

In the same vein, Forbes recently wrote of the merits of tea-and-cheese pairings, leaving wine by the wayside. "Similar to wine, tea's qualities can vary dramatically depending on where it's grown—the weather, the soil—as well as how it's processed," mentions writer Megy Karydes. Herbaceous green teas, for example, go well with super creamy cheeses like goat or triple-crème, while pu'erhs work best with bolder varieties like aged gouda. If you'd like to make a night out of it, you can even sign up for private tea-and-cheese tastings.

In order to pair properly, we must start with being able to distinguish common teas from one another. The International Tea Masters Association has come up with a nifty Tea Aroma Wheel to help us figure out whether the herbaceous taste in your cup is lavender, fennel, or sage. The wheel can also help you decipher the flavors that are opposite the one you're consuming, and therefore complementary. From there, sommeliers and casual tea enthusiasts alike can create optimal food pairings.

Tea sites like Teforia and Arbor Teas have great suggestions, and we threw some of our own into the mix, too. Here are a few basic pairings that will unveil the subtle and complex flavors of both the tea and the food you are enjoying:

White tea, such as Pai Mu Tan White – If a tea could be minimalist, this would be it. Pair this light beverage with neutral white cheeses like fresh mozzarella and oaxaca, as well as leafy salads and peaches.

Green tea has a distinct vegetal flavor. Try a pure variety like Hojicha green. Because it's kind of grassy, this tea goes best with flavors that aren't too strong, and sometimes slightly sweet, like mildly seasoned seafood, Basmati rice, chicken, or melon.

Oolong often has depth and complexity of flavor. Floral oolong is no exception, and finishes with a light, honey-like aroma. Duck and other poultry, grilled meats, and savory foods like lobster are strong enough to go head-to-head with most oolong teas – especially highly oxidized ones.

Black tea, like the strongly caffeinated Irish Breakfast, is a classic morning tea originating in India. It goes hand in hand with light breakfast foods, custard, cream, and lemon-flavored confections.

Pu'erh teas, like this one, have been shown to lend digestive benefits. Try it to aid your body's natural processes after eating savory meats, stir-fries, mushrooms, and beets.

Mint, too, is a digestive aid. A peppermint herbal tea is best consumed alongside legumes and nut-based sweets like almond cookies. Plus, it's caffeine free and won't keep you up at night.

If you're going with your gut instinct, just try to think of the basic flavors your tea evokes and pick a food that is equally strong or mild, but with a very different taste. And so, while tea is no replacement for wine, it certainly can serve as a delicious and sophisticated add-on at your next fabulous dinner party. Bon appétit!


Fun fact: Your tea simply isn't supposed to taste bitter. If it does, how did you go wrong? You've either brewed the tea for too long, used water that is too hot, or not used the proper ratio of tea to water. Remember that all of these rules are different based on the type of tea you are drinking. Consult the experts at Heavenly Tea Leaves for proper, custom brewing instructions!